Roasted Broccoli Salad

 
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Broccoli is so good and so good for you!  Does that remind you of something your mother would have said in younger years to encourage you to eat vegetables? For many years broccoli was cooked in a rather common way - steamed, boiled, and mostly likely a little overcooked and lacking flavor.  Because of these traditions maybe broccoli still holds a reputation in some peoples minds as a rather plain vegetable.  

But then we learned to roast, right? Roasting is now my preferred method for almost all vegetables these days!  The secret recipe is easy - 400 degrees, olive oil, salt and pepper!  Any vegetable, any time!  

Here's an idea to dress up your "plain broccoli" side dish.  It is still simple to make but yet will add an elegance to your dinner presentation.  There is a bit of feta cheese added at the end, so if you are strictly Whole30 or paleo and avoiding dairy, you could eliminate that, or if you are "primarily paleo" like me, a little bit of light cheese here and there is ok!  This recipe also includes dried cherries which you can find that are unsweetened in the bulk section of your health food store, it might need to be a specialty type store such as Whole Foods or New Seasons, but it is out there! Sidenote - the same goes for recipies that call for dried cranberries, or craisins, you can find them without the sugar, it just might require a little extra looking.

INGREDIENTS:
4 cups broccoli florets
1/2 cup raw pine nuts
3 Tbl olive oil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt
ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup dried cherries
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
FOR THE DRESSING:
4 Tbl olive oil
2 Tbl red wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced or crushed
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  In a large mixing bowl toss together broccoli, oil, oregano, salt, and pepper, enough to coat the broccoli.  Spread evenly in a roasting dish and cook for 15 minutes, stirring a couple of times.  While that is cooking, heat a fry pan on the stove to medium high and toast the pine nuts.  Watch these closely as they will easily burn, stir continually until they are golden brown and toasty!  Remove pine nuts from the heat and broccoli from the oven when it is done and set aside to cool.

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In a small bowl whisk together olive oil, vinegar, garlic, nutmeg and pepper.  After the broccoli has cooled, add the dressing, cherries, and feta cheese to the broccoli mixture and stir to combine.  Chill in the refrigerator prior to serving. Top with the pine nuts right before serving.

Pair this with a simple protein such as grilled flank steak, roasted chicken or seasoned baked fish fillet, and your dinner is complete and elegant!  Enjoy!